Sobre o livro
Today, Arkady and Boris Strugatsky are counted among the best science fiction writers of the twentieth century, but their relationship with the late-Soviet literary establishment in their home country of Russia was often fraught. Acclaimed during the brief Khrushchev Thaw, the Strugatskys began to fall from grace in the late 1960s as publishers became increasingly reluctant to release their works. The authors' inability to publish, however, diminished neither their productivity nor their popularity among readers. Their novels and short stories, retyped by hand, circulated widely through unofficial channels within the Soviet Union and occasionally turned up abroad in unauthorized translation.The nested novels Ugly Swans and Lame Fate offer insight into this period of enforced silence. Never before translated into English, Lame Fate is the first-person account of middle-aged author Felix Sorokin. When the Soviet Writers' Union asks him to submit a writing sample to a newfangled machine that can supposedly evaluate the "e;objective value"e; of any literary work, he faces a dilemma. Should he present something establishment-approved but middling, or risk sharing his unpublished masterpiece, which has languished in his desk drawer for years?Sorokin's masterwork is Ugly Swans, previously published in English as a standalone work but presented here in an authoritative new translation. Ugly Swans chronicles the travails of disgraced literary celebrity Victor Banev, who returns to his provincial hometown to find it haunted by the mysterious clammies-black-masked men residing in a former leper colony. Possessing supernatural talents, including the ability to control the weather, the clammies terrify the town's adult population but enthrall its teenagers, including Banev's daughter Irma. Together, Lame Fate and Ugly Swans illuminate some of the Strugatskys' favorite themes-the (im)possibility of political progress, the role of the individual in society, the nature of honor and courage, and the enduring value of art-in consummately entertaining fashion. By turns chilling, uproarious and moving, these intertwining stories are sure to delight readers from all walks of life.